Tricks For Academic Writing

How To Create A Strong Reflective Essay In 5 Steps

Reflective essay assignments give students the opportunity to write about how something – a book, an article, a painting, an event, a person, etc. – has affected them in a profound way. Reflective essays are usually very personal and subjective, as they are often told in the first person narrative, but they still must maintain some academic tone in the way they are constructed and organized. Here are five steps to creating a great one:

  1. Choose a paper topic and identify its main themes
  2. The first step involves brainstorming some ideas, choosing your best one, and then brainstorming some of the main themes that stem from your best idea. This can be any of a number of things, and should be entirely unique from student to student. If for instance, you choose to write about the death of a family pet you may explore themes about life or death, friendship, love, bitterness, etc. The possibilities are endless.

  3. Ask yourself what the topic has meant to you
  4. Further your paper topic by asking yourself what it has meant for you in terms of shaping the person you are today. Continuing on our topic about regarding the death of a family pet you might ask yourself reasons why you chose to replace the pet immediately or vice versa. Perhaps you are leaning towards to a career as a veterinarian as a result of this event. Again, the possibilities are endless.

  5. Organize your paper logically
  6. The next stage is to organize your paper and create an outline to help you through the writing process. You should organize your paper logically. Back to our sample, you wouldn’t start your paper by discussing your interest in veterinarian practice, but would probably first describe some fond memories of you and your family pet.

  7. Use descriptive language throughout
  8. By now you should realize that a reflective essay closely resembles a short story. Thus, you should use descriptive language throughout your paper. In this case, you would provide a description of your family pet and one or two activities you enjoyed to do together. Only describe those things which are important to the story and nothing that has no relevance.

  9. Summarize your findings
  10. In your conclusion, you want to include a sort of summary of what you have written. This will be different than in most of your other assignments as it will be a sort of summary reflection of the role your family pet played in making you who you are today. Practice bringing things full circle and you’ll find it easier to close out the assignment on a strong note.

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